With so much focus on the National League this offseason – that is, the Padres, Mets and Dodgers – it’s been easy to forget about teams in that offseason. other league. The American League is really a mess. Two of the three division winners (Tampa Bay and Oakland) subtracted key players over the winter, and another playoff team (Cleveland) traded in their franchise star.
What are we going to do with the AL? Who are the top five teams? SI MLB Experts Say:
1. Yankees: This ranking assumes New York made smart decisions by replacing Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton with Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon, two pitchers who combined to pitch an inning last year. Taillon, with his much-needed new arm, could be the next Lucas Giolito.
2. White Sox: This was already a great defensive team that also slugs. Now mix in three key additions: Lance Lynn deepens the rotation, Liam Hendriks is an elite closer, and Adam Eaton gives the aggressive swing lineup a bit more versatility.
3. Rays: This ranking depends on Randy Arozarena continuing to be the impact hitter that he was in a short sample last season. And because of the way teams couldn’t adjust to him in the playoff series, there’s a good chance that will happen. Blake Snell and Charlie Morton are gone, but expect Shane McClanahan and Josh Fleming to make significant contributions (in the limited way Tampa Bay allows headlines).
4. Cufflinks: They get an advantage over Toronto because of an easier schedule. Andrelton Simmons and Byron Buxton on the same field? Defense could be excellent. Minnesota relies heavily on home runs, which could be a problem if baseball flies less this year. Last year, the Twins were last in the majors in stolen bases and below average in strikeout and walk rates.
5. Angels: New general manager Perry Minasian quietly had a very good offseason, picking Jose Iglesias, Raisel Iglesias, Jose Quintana, Kurt Suzuki, Alex Cobb, Alex Claudio and Dexter Fowler, all looking to be one year old. The Angels have the best player (Mike Trout), the most talented player (Shohei Ohtani), one of the best pure hitters (Anthony Rendon), fabulous infield defense, and a rotation that might actually be decent.
Following the Yankees and the White Sox are the …
3. Astros: They bring back almost the entire lineup that put them within two runs of the World Series last year, and they could get Justin Verlander back in time for the playoffs. They will have to confront fans for the first time since details of their cheating scandal were made public, but after a year in a pandemic, fans may be more willing to set them free. And no one else in the division is trying.
4. Cufflinks: They improved on the margins: JA Happ as fourth starter, Alex Colomé to close, Andrelton Simmons to hit ninth and play the best shortstop defense of the game. And they retained Nelson Cruz as designated hitter. This may not be the Bomb Squad, but it should still be pretty good.
5. Tiles: I considered going with the Rays here, but that rotation has the potential to be pretty thin. And I liked the Blue Jays’ offseason: George Springer and Marcus Semien should bolster an already highly talented lineup, and if some of their young pitchers are successful, they could be a real threat in the division.
After the Yankees and the White Sox come the …
3. Rayswho, despite their relapse this winter, are still a force to be reckoned with, and I’m sure they’ll find some relief among the couch cushions to develop a ridiculous strikeout rate and become someone we all know in July.
4. The Twins I still have the power to grab a space here …
5. And I think the Blue Jays The upgrade round – George Springer, Marcus Semien, Steven Matz – put them at this level too, especially if their young talent continues to develop, leaving the Astros since july On the outside looking in.
1. Yankees: They are going to hit well and will probably shoot well as well. Can you do it in October? It’s been a long time since 2009 …
2. White Sox: This is hard. The Twins have such a strong group that I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win the AL Central. But the White Sox are brimming with talent, even though the focus is more on the manager than the team’s stars.
3. Cufflinks: There will be no better divisional race than the one between Minnesota and Chicago in the AL Central. Sorry, LA and San Diego.
4. Astros: They finished with a losing record in 60 games last year, so I’m very skeptical. But all those games against the Rangers and Mariners should improve win total.
5. Rays: They could build a team from scratch on the first day of spring training and still win 90 games. Don’t sleep in Tampa Bay, ever.
1. Yankees: If starters Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon can stay healthy throughout the season, the Yankees should be the favorites to rank first in the American League.
2. White Sox: This may be too high for a team that did not escape the expanded wild-card round last year, but there is an intriguing mix of exciting young talent and consistent, proven veterans mixed in both the lineup and the pitching staff.
3. Cufflinks: Minnesota should comfortably qualify for the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, given the weakening of several other American League contenders. José Berríos’ maturing into a full-blown ace would do wonders for this team’s postseason prospect.
4. Astros: The maturing of young starters like Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier could help make up for the loss of George Springer, especially in a division where no one is particularly trying to win.
5. Tiles: Toronto showed a refreshing willingness to spend in free agency and should be rewarded with a playoff spot. It’s still hard to imagine this team leading the Yankees.
1. Yankees: They have the best lineup, the best bullpen and the best pitcher in the American League. If Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton can stay healthy, they will be fine.
2. White Sox: PECOTA’s projections aren’t that high, but they’ve made all the right moves this offseason (minus hiring Tony LaRussa).
3. Cufflinks: Some good sneaky offseason moves allow the Twins to keep up with the White Sox in what could be the most competitive division in the American League.
4. Angels: His recurring focus of looking for quantity over quality could actually pay off this season, with the price expected to make headlines last year’s short season. They also improved their bullpen with Raisel Iglesias and added shortstop José Iglesias.
5. Astros: They will miss George Springer and will be without Justin Verlander again for most, if not all, of this season. Even so, Houston is still very talented.
1. Yankees: The Yankees are the clear-cut group leaders in the American League, with so many high-impact arms in the rotation and bullpen of any team other than the Dodgers. The offense should be strong as well, with DJ LeMahieu back in the fold and depth throughout the lineup elsewhere.
2. Cufflinks: The Twins’ postseason struggles have obscured their consistency in recent years. Minnesota’s acquisitions outweigh the team’s losses this offseason, particularly the skilled signings of Andrelton Simmons and Alex Colomé.
3. White Sox: The White Sox have the highest ceiling of any team in Central, although the Twins have a higher floor, which gives them the go-ahead. The end of the rotation has many question marks that will likely determine who wins the division.
4. Astros: The Astros remain the most talented team in the West. Although they will clearly miss George Springer, the recovery seasons of José Altuve, Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel should make up for their absence.
5. Tiles: The Blue Jays have a similar profile to the White Sox – young, talented, a little skinny in the pitching department – and they could move up the AL pecking order with ruptures of their young core. The resurgent performances of Ross Stripling, Robbie Ray and Steven Matz are crucial for Toronto to live up to its potential.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.